Brian Currin

Join me on my Vagabond Blues show on www.AllJazzRadio.co.za every Thursday afternoon from 4pm to 6pm (SA time). I play a broad spectrum of music in the blues genre, with a special focus on South African blues. – Brian Currin

Extract from an article I wrote in February 2007

I was born in South Africa 4 days after “The Day The Music Died” according to Don McLean (you work it out!). I was born and bred in a home filled with music (mainly Church Hymns and Showtunes) but soon discovered in my pre-teen years that I had absolutely no talent for singing or playing an instrument. I do play a mean air guitar solo though – I usually play a Black Fender Stratocaster Original Air Guitar. I also play Air Organ – a Hammond B3 of course – and recently I’ve started learning to play Air Harmonica.

Since I had this overwhelming passion for music, but not the skills to perform it, I started collecting music as well as information about music and also statistics and lists. Finding musical information in Apartheid-era South Africa was difficult to say the least, but my passion knew no bounds and I persevered.

In 1973 I heard the ‘Made in Japan’ version of ‘Smoke Of The Water’ by Deep Purple and my fate as a Rock Fan was sealed. I always thought that when I grew up I would lose my love of Rock and get into Classical and Jazz as “older” people did. Never happened! What did happen is that I just added and added more styles, types and genres to my musical tastes, though Classic Rock is still my first love and Deep Purple is still my favourite group. After listening to Purple and Zeppelin and Tull and Clapton and such-like I wanted to hear the original blues that inspired them … and a whole new world of discovering the Blues masters opened up for me.

Blues From The Deep South (Of Africa)

Because of South Africa’s unique geographical position and cosmopolitan population, there is really no such thing as a single defining style of “South African Music”. We seem to have everything here on the Southern Tip of Africa including African Tribal music, Zulu Township Jazz, Country and Western, Death Metal, Electronica and so much more, all with their own clearly-defined (and sometimes overlapping) niche markets. However the blues seems to be very popular in South Africa amongst most population groups, though I’ve never seen any research to support this theory of mine.

Blues in South Africa includes a wide variety of genres including Jazz Blues, Folk Blues, Traditional Blues, Blues Rock, Acoustic Blues and even blues sung in the language of Afrikaans which for want of a better name we will call Afrikaans Blues. So really South African Blues is just a term to mean Blues played by South African musicians. Cover versions of old blues classics abound, but there are also a large number of original compositions written in a variety of blues styles. Very few South African Blues musicians actually concentrate on playing the Blues exclusively, but rather play a mix of Blues, Rock, Blues-Rock and Country Rock.

Join me on my Vagabond Blues show on www.AllJazzRadio.co.za every Thursday afternoon from 4pm to 6pm (SA time). I play a broad spectrum of music in the blues genre, with a special focus on South African blues. – Brian Currin

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